Today, I wanted to take a few moments to address the very real pressure and impacts that COVID-19 is having on divorced and divorcing families. If you are feeling the weight of the added stress because the courts are closed, and you need something taken care of right away, you are not alone.  The good news is that there are online solutions available today to help you navigate forward even when access to a judge is limited.

Maybe you’re dealing with safety issues relating to navigating your co-parenting agreement even if you have already been living by it for a number of years.  

For some families, custody suddenly seems more complicated when you have different interpretations of what is meant by “social isolation.”  

For some, you are spending more time than usual with your estranged spouse in the same household while courts are closed.  Maybe you need to establish ground rules to get through this period.  

Take a deep breath. Remember, everyone is feeling a little bit more stressed and pressured than usual.  If you feel like you need assistance creating an agreement, or navigating a finite issue, your solution may be an online mediation or arbitration session away.  Last week I spoke on a special episode of Susan Guthrie’s Divorce and Beyond Podcast talking about online options to get you through. 

Tune in to the episode here.

Remember, regardless of whether you need to access a bit of extra help today, the five essential elements (patience, respect, peace, clarity, and forgiveness) and the toolkit are here to help you move through and beyond this difficult time.  Here are some simple reminders for you:



Commit to simply sitting in a quiet space for five minutes each day to close your eyes and breathe.  You can settle your body and mind just by taking a little time and creating a bit of distance.


Create clear boundaries.   Remember, everyone is a bit more on edge than usual.  Be mindful of how social distancing may be impacting your mood.  If you are feeling powerless, using a third party online mediator may provide the help you need.



Take time to notice the neutral and create space while physical space may presently be limited. Recognize that we all believe our perspective is the truth and step away from pointless argument loops.  This may be a time to access the Better Apart Online Masterclass for some extra support.



 Get clear on your goals, big and small. When life is out of control, it is all too easy to play the blame game.  Rather than engaging in the classic finger-pointing dynamic, use this time to actively engage in your VIR protocol practice to move your life forward in a positive direction.  Visualize. Internalize. Realize.  



Grant yourself the gift of compassion. Your social distancing may not be perfect, your forward momentum may be slower than you wish. During this high-stress period, try to recall the balance between minimizing and catastrophizing your life circumstances. Forgive yourself and for all those around you for the perfect imperfection of the present circumstance.  Remember, forgiveness is the pathway to emotional freedom.

If you are in need of a little extra assistance while the courts are closed, contact me to schedule an online mediation session or consultation.  At this time flat rate options are available. If you wish to have a consultation,
contact me to schedule or sign up for The Better Apart MasterClass and access a complimentary mini-consultation with me.  

Have questions or want to hear about a particular topic? Send me an email and I will do my best to reply as soon as possible.  Keep safe and healthy.  


P.S. Want more tools and resources to stay positive during a divorce? Download my Free Divorce Survive & Thrive Kit below!


With support and strength,



DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.


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